World Snooker Championship 2021 - Neil Robertson and Kyren Wilson locked in battle at the Crucible
Neil Robertson, the 2010 world champion, secured a lead over Kyren Wilson in the first session of their World Championship quarter final but last year's beaten finalist rallied to leave the match well poised. Anthony McGill edged ahead of Stuart Bingham on the other table on Tuesday evening, with the Scot making a series of impressive breaks to put himself in the driving seat.
'One of the flukes of the Championship' - Robertson shot jumps out of two pockets
Robertson said his intention was to go for shots and possibly lose frames quickly as opposed to being dragged into drawn-out frames. The gameplan went out of the window on Tuesday evening, as Wilson turned the contest into an arm wrestle that looks primed to go to the wire on Wednesday morning.
The opening frame of the second session was a lengthy affair, with both players squandering chances and looking completely out of rhythm. Robertson potted all the colours to force a re-spot on the black, but the frame went Wilson’s way when the Australian left it over the green pocket.
'47 minutes of attrition’ – Wilson drops re-spotted black to cut Robertson lead
Robertson missed reds by margins that he has not done all season in the 10th frame, but he got a huge slice of fortune after Wilson potted an excellent red only to cannon a pink into the right middle. The 2010 champion did not seize the chance as he failed to find any fluency, but fell over the line when Wilson missed with the rest.
For all Robertson’s struggles, his opponent was in a dark place as well. Wilson is one of the most patient players on the circuit, but he was left muttering to himself in frustration when running out of position in the 11th. But Robertson was unable to take advantage of his opponent’s struggles and Wilson doggedly took the frame to cut the gap to one.
Robertson had an excellent opportunity to free his cueing arm with the balls well spread in the 12th frame, but he broke down on 23 and Wilson responded with a 60 - the first half century since the sixth frame - to level things up at 6-6.
The interval handed the players 15 minutes to regroup. It’s not a lot of time to solve any technical issues, but it hands the chance to clear the previous four frames from the memory banks and Robertson emerged with real purpose in the 13th frame - knocking in a break of 126 for his third century of the match.
Robertson came to the table in the 14th with energy and made a break of 50, but missed a black off the spot to hand Wilson a chance to counter. He made 36 and laid an excellent safety and that earned him the opening to level the match once again.
Wilson plays bad snooker very well, in that he can put out of his mind mistakes and poor passages of play to keep himself in the hunt. The 15th frame was an ideal example of that as he battled to make a break of 53 despite rarely being in optimum position, and it enabled him to move ahead for the first time in the match.
From ‘Hail Mary’ pot to audible groans – The struggles of Wilson
Robertson ensured the match would be level heading into Wednesday morning by taking the final frame of the second session with a break of 66.
Anthony McGill produced some excellent play towards the end of the second session to edge 9-7 ahead of Stuart Bingham.
‘What a shot! What a shot!’ – Bingham produces miraculous effort
Bingham was two frames to the good at once stage, but McGill rallied with two centuries and a 92 to put himself in with an excellent chance of back-to-back Crucible semi-finals.